I had been to many SU Holidays as a camper and had always got a lot out of them, coming away feeling encouraged and inspired to find out more about who God was and what difference it would make to my life. I wanted to learn more about what being a leader involved so that I could try to encourage other children the way I had been.
In 2011 I went to the week long Basecamp on Arran. After Basecamp I atteneded a couple of week-long residential holidays. I also went to LeadUP, a week long training event at Altnacriche, and to the review weekends at the end of each summer.
At both Basecamp and LeadUP I was a camper or “delegate”. Basecamp focused mainly on the practicle aspects of helping lead a camp, from how to run a worship session to the best ways to structure a prayer or to keep children’s attention during small groups. Throughout that week we learned a lot about group work and its importance in running a camp. As a group we lead a worship session as well as organised a game for the rest of camp.
LeadUP helped to focus me more on the spiritual side of camp whilst building on the skills from Basecamp. Our group was involved in organising a full day of camp from whole-camp games to the running of the evening meeting and doing some of the cleaning.
I am often very quiet especially when in a group with people I don’t know, however, at both Basecamp and LeadUP I found that I was confident enough to chip in with ideas and suggestions of how we could run certain events. I was also able to take a step back and look at the problem from different angles to see if there was another way to approach another task that might be more suited.
There is a real energy and buzz that surrounds camp, which for me demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is at work there. Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” This is so evident at events like Basecamp or LeadUP: at the start of the week there is a crowd of young adults who don’t know each other and have come from all different backgrounds and upbringings, and by the end of the week you have a group of friends who are passionate and encouraged to go and share the gospel of Jesus.
One of the biggest things I have learned through the COmMISSION programme was that God uses everyone. Whilst we may not all be called to lead worship or deliver a talk at the front of a group of people it doesn’t mean that we don’t play just as important a role by being able to just sit and listen to someone, or by making teas and coffees.
Both weeks played a huge part in building up my confidence to be able to talk about my faith and what I believe in. Not only that but I still use the skills I learned from both events about working with people and being part of team on a daily basis.
I think the way the camps are lead creates a safe environment which provides a great opportunity to ask some of the tricker questions you might have and to really think about what you believe and the impact it does have and could have on your life. There is a good mix of seminars and teaching sessions as well as time for games and activities. As well as that it is a great change to meet other Christians of a similar age - I am still really good friends with many of the people I meet at Basecamp and LeadUP.
Written by Jenny Kirkwood. Jenny is a third year student nurse at Queen Margaret University. She has been involved with SU Scotland since she went on an SU Holiday in 2nd year at high school, and has been involved in some way every year since!